Is Javon Kinlaw primed for a bounce-back season?
His 49ers teammate Mike McGlinchey seems to think so.
Kinlaw appeared in just four games last season before undergoing reconstructive ACL surgery, and the defensive tackle has been hard at work in Santa Clara this offseason so he can return to the field.
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McGlinchey also has been a constant presence at the team facilities as he rehabs from his own knee surgery and recently told Brad Graham of TheSFNiners how blown away he is by Kinlaw’s progress.
“It’s been pretty much just me and Javon since January in the weight room," McGlinchey told Graham (h/t 49ers Webzone). "He came back towards the end of the season as I was kind of getting ready to travel. I think he was in L.A. for a little bit of the first part of his rehab ... but when he got back, he hit the ground running, man.
"... I couldn't be prouder of him and the way that he's developed. Not only his physical sense and the way he's trained but how he's become such a pro. He's there every single day at the same time, putting his work in as hard as he can, and competing with me, competing with everybody else that's training there, and being so diligent about his career."
Due to lingering knee issues, Kinlaw has only appeared in 18 games since being drafted No. 14 overall by the 49ers in the 2020 NFL Draft. He has worked this offseason to become a reliable piece of the 49ers’ defensive line rotation and it appears the time spent preparing is paying off just in time for the 2022 season.
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In March, coach Kyle Shanahan described Kinlaw as the healthiest he has ever seen the 24-year-old. A few months later, McGlinchey described him to Graham as “unbelievable.”
"I've never seen a human being look like him. He is freaky looking -- in the best way possible," McGlinchey said. "He's gearing up for a hell of a year. Unbelievably motivated, unbelievably determined to prove that he's a great football player, which we all know he is already.
"And the maturity that he's shown in this last year or so, I could not be prouder of him. ... Expect big things from Javon. I think he's going to have an unbelievable year. He's ready to go."
McGlinchey knows just the kind of grit it takes to overcome an injury, as he’s in the midst of doing so himself.
He revealed to Graham that what originally was thought to be a season-ending quad tear suffered in Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals turned out to be an injury to the tendon connecting his quad to his kneecap.
After painstaking rehabilitation, McGlinchey said he’s “ready for training camp.”
Both he and Kinlaw certainly hope their hard work together pays off.